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Armed Forces Week: A time to remember, honor and celebrate our military

This week is Armed Forces Week, a time to pay tribute to the brave men and women who serve in our military. Every year, Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday.

This period provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about the military's role and to honor all who have served, whether they are on active duty, reserves, veterans, or those who have passed away.

Secretary of Defense Louis A. Johnson had an innovative idea on August 31, 1949. He proposed merging the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days into one unified celebration. This was a big step in establishing the Department of Defense, culminating in President Harry S. Truman signing the National Security Act into law. 

On May 20, 1950, people celebrated the first Armed Forces Day with parades, parties and air shows. The theme, "Teamed for Defense," emphasized the unity of all military branches under the new structure. President Truman's speech praising the military at home and abroad underscored the day's importance. President John F. Kennedy officially declared Armed Forces Day a federal holiday, emphasizing its national importance. 

"But Seagull, why are this week and Armed Forces Day so important?" It should be a powerful symbol of our collective respect and gratitude towards our military personnel. It's a time for us, as individuals and as a nation, to unite and acknowledge the sacrifices made by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and their families.

There are countless ways to celebrate and honor Armed Forces Day. You can start by proudly flying the American flag as a symbol of our nation's unity and strength. Consider attending local parades and visiting military bases and museums to learn more about our military history and contributions. For a more personal touch, you can leave flowers at cemeteries, donate to military service organizations, send letters or care packages to deployed servicemen and women, or wear patriotic colors to show your support.

Taking part in these activities is not just a show of support for our military personnel. It is a personal acknowledgment of their sacrifices, a strengthening of our national identity and unity, and a reminder of the freedoms we enjoy because of them. We recognize and honor the vital role that these men and women play in maintaining our safety and security.

From an Ole Seagull’s perspective, Armed Forces Week and Armed Forces Day are not just dates on a calendar. They are powerful reminders of the courage, dedication and sacrifices of our military personnel and their families. To him, it is not just a duty, but a privilege to honor and celebrate them.

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